“Collision repair really is an art,” said Hoskins. “One of our administrators added an ‘A’ for 'art' in STEM to make it STEAM for that reason.”
Students are required take general painting, welding, and estimating courses to complete their collision degree, which takes 51 weeks.
“When working on panel alignment, students are graded on how they repair the damage, all the way through to the base coat,” she explained. “Students will work on anything from mini panels to full-size vehicles.”
Hoskins added that students have a huge computerized color spectrum to chose from when repainting panels.
“They can pick and mix just about any color they want,” she said.
UTI-Long Beach’s welding lab has 28 stations, where students work with steel and aluminum in order to earn their I-CAR certifications.
“Students have the opportunity to earn advanced certifications from Chief, 3M, and Axalta, just to name a few,” Hoskins added.
In the estimating lab, students were working on a pick-up truck from Texas with hail dents.
“The students will assess all types of repair processes,” she said. “It gets real interesting because our instructors will be creative with how they damage our lab vehicles to help students with estimating unique circumstances.”
Hoskins added that there’s a real need for estimators in the industry.
“A lot of technicians move into estimating later in their careers, so it’s a nice skill to understand,” she explained. “However, many of them retire, and the positions aren’t being filled. It can be a great opportunity for some students.”
UTI-Long Beach offers advanced custom body work and painting courses for students who qualify.
“These courses allow students to get even more creative,” Hoskins added. “They can make pretty much anything they want.”